Convicted BTK serial killer Dennis Rader has laid out the similarities between himself and newly-arrested Gilgo Beach murder suspect Rex Heuermann.
Mr Heuermann, a 59-year-old father of two, was taken into custody last week and charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three of second-degree murder over the deaths of slain sex workers Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Costello and Megan Waterman. He has pleaded not guilty.
The women’s bodies were found in 2010 within one-quarter of a mile of each other in the Long Island community of Gilgo Beach in New York state. Twenty-four-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes’ remains were also found in the vicinity — Mr Heuermann has not been charged with Brainard-Barnes’ murder but is the prime suspect in the investigation.
Now Rader, who is serving ten life sentences in a maximum security Kansas prison after he confessed in 2005 to killing 10 people over a span of three decades, has called Mr Heuermann “a clone of me.” Rader gave himself the title of the BTK killer because he bound and tortured his victims before killing them.
“I was arrested age[d] 59. Married, two kids,” Rader wrote in a letter sent to Fox News Digital. “Husband, dad longtime a serial killer, stalker, used electronic devices, lives in a neighbourhood undetected.”
Earlier this week, Rader’s daughter Kerri Rawson told The Independent that she’s “heartbroken” for Mr Heuermann’s family.
“And so your next thought, for me, is: Does he have a family? That’s a question, and so you’re looking through media, and all of a sudden, you’re reading, okay, he has a wife, he has kids,” Ms Rawson said.
“And then, for me … it’s like I almost get ripped again, like emotionally torn – because you’re so glad that they’ve caught somebody and got him before he could hurt anybody else, but you’re heartbroken for this family.”
Mr Heuermann’s wife Asa Ellerup filed for divorce on Wednesday, just five days after his arrest. In a statement to The Independent, Ms Ellerup’s attorney said the family’s was devastated.
“As you can imagine, our client and her family are going through a devastating time in their lives,” attorney Robert Macedonia said. “The sensitive nature of her husband's arrest is taking an emotional toll on the immediate and extended family, especially their elderly family members.”
Mr Heuermann lived in Massapequa Park, where the victims were last seen, while his architecture consulting firm is located near the area in Midtown Manhattan where taunting calls were made to the women’s families. He first came onto investigators’ radar last year, when a witness recognised his vehicle, while DNA evidence and a forensic analysis of his cellphone records and online searches have further tied him to the crime, police said.
Records also show that several online accounts under fictitious names linked to Mr Heuermann were used for illegal activities. Mr Heuermann allegedly used those accounts and burner phones to contact women for prostitution services, as well as making chilling online searches.
The searches reportedly included sadistic, torture-related pornography, child pornography and disturbing content.
Former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told ABC’s Good Morning America that law enforcement agencies across the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and even nationwide are also reviewing cold cases that Mr Heuermann may be tied to.
Las Vegas and South Carolina police are also reviewing unsolved cases in the areas where Mr Heuermann owns properties.